The coronavirus crisis has shown the importance of online commerce, and now the government wants to support this sector of the economy by subsidizing the costs of large Internet sites and marketplaces. But it seems that only Wildberries founder Tatyana Bakalchuk will receive hundreds of millions of support from Mishustin. How does she do it?
The draft government decree proposing to subsidize the costs of Russian marketplaces for logistics was developed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. According to this initiative, it is planned to allocate 1.5 billion for subsidies to marketplaces for three years, compensating them for the costs of logistics and storage of goods. This is necessary, according to officials, "to increase the demand for competitive domestic products." The main condition for obtaining support is the absence of foreign shareholders. The company must be 100% Russian. Interestingly, only one site meets these criteria - Wildberries. Other large online traders: Ozon, Yandex.Market and AliExpress Russia have foreigners in their capital. Even Sberbank, dreaming of its own marketplace, will not be able to claim this role. Although the controlling stake in Sberbank is owned by the government, 45% of its shareholders are foreigners. It looks like this was done exclusively for Wild Berry.
Perhaps it is a good idea to help a company that has become the largest on the Russian market in just a few years. And, indeed, some articles about the path of the founder of the marketplace Tatiana Bakalchuk read like a fairy tale about Cinderella: a poor English teacher, turning her apartment into a warehouse, personally delivers bales of clothes on a trolleybus to the first customers ... Having neither experience, nor initial capital, nor even with the appropriate education, slowly but surely she turned into the richest woman in Russia with a fortune of 1.4 billion dollars, overtaking even the wife of the ex-mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov - Elena Baturina.
Cinderella and her prince
And this fairy tale could be believed if you did not know that our Cinderella also had her own prince. And she received the first millions for business development without selling Chinese tights, but from her lawful spouse Vladislav, who in 2007 sold the UTech provider to Gazprombank for $ 7.5 million. Yes, he suddenly turned out to be a successful businessman who decided to change the type of activity, having successfully invested in Internet commerce. And who, obviously, is tired of the fact that while he is doing business, his wife chills out in a teaching position. But this hardly makes the tale less interesting.
The problem is that this company can hardly be suspected of supporting domestic producers. But this is what the government is pushing for when developing the program. On the contrary, such a tough marketplace, squeezing the last juices out of its partners, should be looked for.
For example, quite recently, before "Black Friday", the marketplace took over and blocked a children's clothing store "Koftenyshi". The official reason - "because of the refusal to participate in the action for the day of shopping." And the owner just spoke on social networks about his partner in a negative context. Then the marketplace, without notifying the sellers, forced a 25% discount on all products from partners. In other words, he made them sell goods at a loss. Like, it was necessary to win customer loyalty. At someone else's expense - why not?
The "Black Friday" promotion began in the Wildberries online store in early November. But suppliers who sell their products through the marketplace are outraged: they were forced to offer big discounts at their own expense. Now some entrepreneurs are on the verge of bankruptcy.
At the same time, the suppliers did not know about the upcoming Wildberries campaign, so they set their offers for "Black Friday". One of the suppliers' chat participants asked the support of the marketplace: is it possible to leave the promo code for the service and remove your discount, which was made earlier. The manager replied that the current discounts cannot be removed. And it will be possible to change your offers only after the end of the promotion, that is, in a week. Thus, Wildberries buyers can purchase goods with huge discounts, and entrepreneurs will not earn anything, because they will also need to pay a commission to the marketplace - from 15% for the sale. In addition, logistics are also most often carried out at the expense of the seller, and not at the expense of the site. Such is the support for small Russian businesses.
And in 2017, the Wildberries company had a serious conflict with partners who threw dozens of lawsuits against the "older sister". The company simply did not pay for the goods already sold: they say, all the money was spent on its promotion and advertising. The owner of the Prime Jeans brand generally filed a bankruptcy lawsuit against Wildberries, desperate to receive his six million rubles.
Now ordinary buyers are faced with a similar problem - due to the fact that the site has introduced an advance payment for its goods. Customers complain that now, having received counterfeit or defective goods instead of the original product, it is very difficult to get their money back from the company. Meanwhile, Wildberries are a champion in arbitration cases as a defendant among Russian online stores. And by a huge margin! Counterparties and suppliers are filing lawsuits against the company twice as often as against the giant Ozon and forty times as often as against Beru.
There are people like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk or Jack Ma. They are changing our world. We follow their projects with bated breath and look forward to the prophet of a new era in Russia. And, it seems, they waited! But what they deserve. Life dissects the personality, connections and business of the richest Russian woman and owner of Wildberries Tatyana Bakalchuk.
As Life already wrote, the courts are simply filled with claims, in total the plaintiffs demand to return the astronomical 0.7 billion rubles.
And will this company receive government support? However, the Bakalchuk couple is suspiciously dashing to push their interests through the government. Reducing the threshold of customs duties when receiving parcels from abroad is the result, among other things, of their many years of lobbying work. The Ministry of Finance's proposal to reduce this threshold tenfold at once - to 20 euros has already been agreed. That is, buying on Amazon, Alibaba and eBay will be frankly unprofitable and for a very long time.
And we will have to pay for one product several times at once: firstly, buying Chinese consumer goods at an exorbitant price through a "domestic company", and secondly, supporting it with federal subsidies.